Ignore the bright-yellow Kansas City Cafe sign still hanging on the side of the red-brick building at 1532 Grand.
"That was supposed to come down yesterday," says restaurateur Celina Tio with a sigh. "I may get on the ladder and take it down myself."
Kansas City Cafe is now officially gone. Tio purchased the two-story building and has been serving her own lunch menu for weeks. But this is the true opening weekend for Collection, her newest project since opening her Brookside boite, Julian, in 2009. The gloomy weather - rain and snow, notorious for keeping even the most loyal restaurant patrons at home - isn't ruining Tio's upbeat mood. Collection is finally open for business.
Tio's other concept restaurant, the Belfrey, is still almost two months from completion. When it opens, the Belfrey will be in a large, separate space in the back of 1532 Grand, boasting 10-foot-high windows and serving coffee, cocktails and its own menu from 7 a.m. to midnight Monday through Saturday.
The crew includes sous chef Dan Sowders, service manager Michael Mosley (who will work at both Collection and Julian), Ken Buck, Harvey Long, Reginald Williams and Rico Jenkins. They'll all be at the restaurant on Friday when Tio welcomes the First Friday art lovers with a $5 menu of small plates, to be offered only on First Fridays, featuring miniature versions of Tio's macaroni and cheese, baked rigatoni, mini muffaletta sandwiches - and $5 cocktails.
Collection will serve lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday and dinner from 5 to 10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.